Features and Advantages Explained
Project management tools help project teams to plan and manage resources, collaborate more effectively, plan and action project-critical tasks, and report project issues. They can be used to maintain project documentation, and ensure that project progress is tracked in real time.
Why Use Project Management Tools?
Projects are usually time-limited, with specific target delivery dates. In PRINCE2, projects are managed by stages. At the end of each stage, the project board reviews performance and decides whether to continue.
Each stage has short-term goals that contribute to the overall project objectives. There will be project constraints and project dependencies. Using a project management tool enables the project manager to monitor both. The project manager can easily see how the project team is performing, the status of each task, and any slippage there may be because of constraints or dependencies.
Typical Features of Project Management Tools
There are dozens of project management tools available. The features they offer include:
- Scheduling, allowing the project manager to plan work and delegate to teams. Tasks and subtasks are recorded in a single location, and documentation can be saved and assigned. Workflow is easily monitored, and a calendar view displays a visual depiction of progress.
- Communication, enabling more effective communication and moving away from email. Comments can be added by individuals and teams, approval for work can be given more easily, and team members can collaborate more effectively in real time even if dispersed remotely.
- Documentation, processed and stored in a single database which helps to avoid missing files and maintain an easily accessible project database.
- Progress tracking and reporting, with teams recording progress in real time and project progress shared seamlessly with the project board.
Project Management Tools Help Projects Remain Organised
If you have ever managed a project on a whiteboard, you will know how disorganised planning and execution can become. Post-It notes fall off, and written notes get smudged or confused with updates and partial deletions.
Try to use an Excel spreadsheet, and the simple action of sending from one person to another for updates adds untold layers of complexity and delay.
Project management software that is centralised and automated empowers organisation. Notes don’t go missing. All documentation is maintained in a single location. Information is up to date, and it is easy to get a visual handle on how the project is progressing.
Real-Time Advantages for Remote Project Teams
Increasingly, project team members are dispersed between offices and geographies. Cloud-based project management tools enable remote teams to work together in real time, with documents available immediately. Comments and feedback can be added for clarification, and with a chat app or video app communication can be ‘real’.
Ease of Use Encourages Use
Project management tools make it easy for people to update frequently. When you remove difficulty and complexity of use, team members will use your project management tools more willingly.
Project management tools add in much of the data needed automatically. Information such as username and date and time. Filenames are created automatically, and you can set up drop-down menus for people to apply actions they have taken or need to be taken.
Updates are added in real time, allowing teams to work to the most recent and updated information and requests.
Project Management Tools Become a Living Record
As all tasks, actions, decisions and documents are recorded on the project management tool, it becomes a living and auditable record of the project. The workflow, information flow, and who did what are there as real-time records of the project.
Choosing Your Project Management Tool
The project management tool that is best for your project will depend upon the project, your industry, your project methodology and your budget. However, there are some common elements that you must consider before making your selection. These include:
- Ease of implementation
- Features included
- Ease of use
- Quality of customer support
- Flexibility and ability to customise
The most important consideration will be how the project management tool will help you achieve your project goals. Make 2020 the year that you streamline your project work by employing the correct project management tools. For help to decide which is best for you, contact Your Project Manager: